As decarbonisation efforts accelerate across the surface mining sector, Sandvik has unveiled its second battery-electric concept surface drill rig.
The battery-electric vehicle is the first in its size class, capable of drilling DTH holes up to 229 mm in diameter, and blending the autonomy of battery with the continuous endurance of power cable, Sandvik says.
Electric surface rigs have long depended solely on a tethered cable as the power source. With its second battery-electric surface concept, Sandvik says it is showcasing the latest technology advancements to push the potential of more sustainable surface drilling.
“With the industry shifting towards intelligent, autonomous and emission-free equipment, surface drill rigs need to be reinvented,” Lauri Laihanen, Vice President, R&D, Surface Drilling Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “This new concept rig elevates electric surface drilling.”
The intelligent DTH rig’s battery pack provides power for up to one hour of drilling or up to seven hours of tramming. The battery is primarily intended for tramming and drilling individual holes while the bulk of a pattern is carried out via power from its 180-m tethered cable.
“The battery means greater freedom and flexibility and more efficient use of time, as the rig can drill immediately while the cable is being set up,” Laihanen said.
Sandvik designed the cable setup to be as effortless as possible. The cable tightens itself automatically according to the direction the rig is moved and is wound on a single layer, which enables a thinner, more manageable tether, it says. An operating voltage as high as 1,000 V also helps enable a lighter cable.
While Sandvik’s latest pioneering concept introduces battery-electric operation to a larger size class DTH drill, its subsystems and technologies are all tried and tested, mine-proven and energy-efficient, according to the company.
Sandvik introduced its smaller top hammer battery-electric concept surface drill rig in May 2022, developed to support more sustainable drilling in construction applications.
“Testing of the smaller concept with our construction customers has been very successful and produced valuable feedback,” Laihanen said. “We’ve learned a lot, and now it’s time to apply these learnings to mining, which has its own unique challenges.”
Sandvik will test its latest concept drill rig in real-world surface mining environments in close collaboration with mining customers.
“We need to identify the challenges, learn from them and share the knowledge,” Laihanen said. “The shift towards more sustainable mining will change the entire operating environment, and with the learnings from our latest concept rig, we can produce more value for our customers on their decarbonisation journey. We’re excited to write the next chapter in surface drilling together.”